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Skip Navigation LinksHome : The Centre : History

The Seismic Research Centre (formerly the Seismic Research Unit) of the University of the West Indies grew out of a Colonial Development and Welfare (CDW) project established in 1952 with the objective of monitoring volcanic activity in the Lesser Antilles and of providing a trained group of scientists in the West Indies who could react quickly to volcanic emergencies.

During the first period of operation (1952 to 1957) the work of the Centre was extended to include the monitoring of tectonic (non-volcanic) earthquakes and the non-volcanic islands of Trinidad, Tobago, Barbados and Antigua were included in the system. Jamaica joined in 1957 but withdrew in 1985 to form its own unit.

The Trinidad-based Centre became part of the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture (ICTA) in 1957 and was absorbed into the University of the West Indies in 1962, although some funding from CDW and its successor organizations remained until 1972. Within the UWI structure the SRC is placed within the Centre Administration, with the Director of the Centre reporting to the Pro Vice Chancellor Research.

Today, with a network of over 50 stations, the SRC remains the authoritative source for information on the status of earthquake and volcanic activity in the English-speaking Eastern Caribbean. Below is a chronological overview of the Centre’s development.

Click here to view Chronological Table